Such a pleasure to recently host a visit to our community partners with Mr Baillieu Myer AC. What a spritely man he is at 92, still so interested in what is happening in the community, in philanthropy and especially on the Mornington Peninsula.
Mr Myer is a very generous donor to the MPF, providing untied funds that we can use at our discretion in our strategic grants program. All of our grants are made within the broader strategy of the MPF which is about getting to the causes of the issues, understanding the 90% of the ice berg that is below the surface, delving deeply into the reasons why things are the way they are, why people make the decisions they do and what can be changed within those environments to encourage different outcomes.
Because it is the actions of people all the way along the system that determine the outcomes – be they clients, service providers, workers, managers, funders or volunteers. How we communicate, the language we use, the mindset that pervades, that is what determines what happens. So the stories we tell are as important as emotional connection that happens between people. When we take our donors and other interested parties to visit our community partners we establish a safe space for people to talk, to listen, to create. We bring together sometimes very unlikely combinations of people who might otherwise not meet and the amazing thing is that this unexpected set up often elicits extraordinarily great ideas, great partnerships and great opportunities.
Mr Myer was fascinated by the data he heard about Eastbourne Primary School, about the levels of disadvantage Principal Stephen Wilkinson works with, the scholarships program St Vincent de Paul volunteer Eric White administers and the response to homelessness Jackie Currie and the team at Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre are pursuing. It’s so encouraging to see people on the same page, steering towards the same goals and speaking the same language, a language of hope and ideals, setting a future, rather than living the default setting.